Beavers climb over Hilltoppers, move to 6-0

Guard AJ Marotte (#11) drives the basket in OSU’s game against Western Kentucky University in Gill Coliseum on Dec. 2, 2023.
Guard AJ Marotte (#11) drives the basket in OSU’s game against Western Kentucky University in Gill Coliseum on Dec. 2, 2023.
Morgan Barnaby

The Oregon State women’s basketball team defeated the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers 76-52 on Saturday, Dec. 2 in Gill Coliseum. 

The Beavers’ six consecutive wins to open the season is their best start since 2019-2020, when the women’s basketball team started 15-0 and reached as high as No. 3 in the AP Poll.

Western Kentucky took a 2-0 lead 31 seconds into the game, but it was the only lead they would ever have. While the Beavers started off slow, not scoring until three minutes and 19 seconds of game time had elapsed, they were able to knock off the Hilltoppers with their height and energetic defense. 

When Reagan Beers put Oregon State’s first points on the board with a layup, it was the beginning of a 13-0 Beaver barrage that included a trio of three-point shots which awarded OSU a 15-3 lead with under one minute to play in the first quarter.

The Hilltoppers managed to add five more points to their first quarter total, but the Beavers sank another three-point shot and completed the quarter with a commanding 18-8 lead. 6’1” Junior Guard AJ Marotte led the effort with 11 points in the quarter, including nine points from three-point shooting.

Using their quartet of six-footers, the Beavers dominated in the paint and out-rebounded the Hilltoppers 50 to 24 for the game. Oregon State’s height advantage allowed them to capitalize at the rim with 20 second-chance points while Western Kentucky had zero for the entirety of the contest.

The second quarter saw the Beavers expand their lead in the opening minutes, initiated by a three-point shot from 6’5” Junior Forward Kelsey Rees. Leading 21-8, the Beavers would not see their dominance in the paint challenged, as Rees had served to spark a 9-0 run. 

When the Hilltoppers finally got their first score of the second quarter with 6:40 left in the half, they faced a 27-10 deficit which had established the 15-point buffer around which the score would fluctuate for the rest of the game. 

A three-point shot from Western Kentucky’s Teresa Faustino with 4:34 remaining in the second, which cut the Beavers lead to 11 at 29-18, was the closest they would be for the rest of the contest. 

Successive three-point shots from Marotte and sophomore guard Lily Hansford extended Oregon State’s advantage to 19 with under five minutes to play in the half. OSU finished the second quarter with a 39-24 lead.

Blocked shots and offensive rebounds were the story of the game for the Beavers, who logged six and 18, respectively. Western Kentucky had two blocked shots and four offensive rebounds.

The Hilltoppers’ inability to preclude Oregon State from shooting again and again proved too much to overcome. At one point, the Beavers’ Beers missed two consecutive layups and collected the rebound on each play before putting the ball into the basket on her third attempt in about 10 seconds.

The third quarter saw the Beavers manage the point differential, expanding their lead to 22 points while then watching it contract to 13 before the closing two minutes of the quarter had the Beavs bring their advantage back to 18.

It was a hole too deep for the Hilltoppers to climb out of; their offensive showing in the final quarter exactly matched the eight points that they were able to muster in the first.

Oregon State, electing to play more reserve players, added 14 points to their score in the final quarter of a game wherein OSU outscored Western Kentucky in every quarter.

At the end of the game, the score was 76-52, headlined by Marotte’s 23 points, three rebounds and four assists. Beers may have been the player of the game with 20 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, one block and three steals. Rees tacked on 12 points, 9 rebounds, one assist, 2 blocks and one steal.

It is a promising start to the season for the Beavs, who also celebrated head Coach Scott Ruek’s 275th win at OSU with a pregame ceremony. 

Oregon State will next face Jackson State on Saturday, December 9th in Corvallis at Gill Coliseum at 6:00 p.m. 

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